Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Q68 QL replacement due October 2017

The QL Forum and users list has been busy with the exciting announcement of the imminent launch of the latest hardware project from Peter Graf  along with the help of many QL enthusiasts: the Q68.

In his own words : -

"I hope to be able to write more about the Q68 at a later time, right now let me say thanks to...

... Laurence Reeves and Tony Firshman for releasing Minerva as free QL operating system, motivating me to develop the Q68 at all
... Richard Zidlicky for bringing Minerva plus PS/2 driver to the Q68 and his great help debugging CPU cores
... Mark Swift for QDOS Classic, structured so nicely that even I could port it to the Q68 in a single day
... Tobias Gubener for the CPU core the Q68 finally uses
... Adrian Ives for the QL-SD driver, initially used for Q68 mass storage
... Tony Tebby for relasing SMSQ/E as free software after all
... Wolfgang Lenerz for his outstanding achievement of porting SMSQ/E to the Q68
... Wolfgang Lenerz again for very helpful tools, extra drivers and docs
... Derek Stewart for his courage and lots of work manufacturing the Q68 hardware and making it available for the public"

The specification or this wondrous new bit of hardware is :
- Operating System: SMSQ/E
- CPU: 68000 compatible
- Speed: 40Mhz
- RAM: 32 MB
- SDHC: Two fullsize slots, hot plugging
- QXL.WIN style storage container format
- Keyboard and mouse: Combined PS/2 Connection, scrollwheel support
- VGA: 1024x768 VESA for flatscreen, CRT or HDMI converter
- Graphic modes:
- 256x256 QL Mode 8
- 512x256 QL Mode 4
- 512x256 Q60 65536 colour
- 1024x512 Q60 65536 colour
- 1024x768 QL Mode 4
- 512x384 Q60 65536 colour
- Serial port
- Stereo sampled sound, 3.5 mm output socket
- Buffered real time clock
- I2C interface
- Ethernet, no software support yet
- QL style LED colours
- PCB Size: 8x10 cm
- Recommended power supply: 5V @ 1A
- Silent operation, no fans or heat
- Case: Optional

And here are some pictures :



The price is apparently still to be decided. The launch is pencilled in for October this year. while this is a great new venture that should expand the base of QL users with up to date hardware one nagging concern QL Heaven has for this system is the graphics VGA signal as only the mode 4 1024x768 resolution will work with a flat screen monitor, the other resolutions will require an CRT monitor unless there is something that QL Heaven does not know. Why not include a "PC standard" resolution with high colour as well as the older QL compatible resolutions? None the less QL Heaven will need to get one.

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